A canal-side garden in winter – John’s Garden Part 2

I found this unpublished post originally written back in mid-February of 2018. I hope you enjoy it!

Back at John’s Garden for our February visit in the cold we can carry on with our exploration as we wander further along the canal-side borders to the canal bridge. In part two we will move along the canal borders before returning along the opposite side of the patch, while along the way discovering a pool, sculpture and a terrace and lots more exciting plants and plant pairings.

Conifers, grasses and trees and shrubs with coloured stems and bark give a common theme throughout. The first two photos below show the matching gold coloured foliage of a group of conifers and a swathe of grasses.

          

The Rhodendron above has a surprise for you if you turn over its leaves! Who would expect orange on the reverse side of a touch dark green leaf? And it feels like the softest felt.

Skimmia “Kew Green” has unusual green flowers instead of the usual reddish shades, while the Witch Hazels sport many shades of yellow.

 

Snowdrops in drifts light up the ground beneath the tree. Ilex “Ferox” sparkles with variegated leaves curled and heavily spined, probably one of the best hollies available for the small garden.

 

Metal panels with cut-out shapes of fern leaves reflect the planting beneath them in the border. John features many different versions of the low growing evergreen shrub, Leucothe. This one was a real beauty!

 

White can be a powerful colour when the winter sun catches it, as in the bleached stems of Teasels, the trunks of white-bark Birch and the ground covering Carex.

  

Along the way a beautiful pool gave a space to slow down and take a deep breath to take in all we had so far seen.

 

Every garden however small needs seats and they must be chosen to fit the design and atmosphere.

  

Sculpture is scattered around the garden providing us with pleasant surprises among our delight at its plants.

        

Turning at the far end of the garden we had a quick look at the new garden which has just begun being created, Adam’s Garden, designed in memory of John’s gardener who died very young late last year. This will be a great addition to the garden and we look forward to seeing it develop. We then returned on the opposite side of the long garden making interesting discoveries all the way.

The terrace is a place where you need to stop and study the small details, the pots full of original planting ideas, trimmed shrubs, interesting foliage and some floating blossoms.

    

Exploring an interesting little terrace garden finished our visit and we returned to the cafe via John’s lawned area with Betula, Snowdrops, Crocus and sheep.

We have a list of the other few open days the rest of the year so aim to return. All of John’s open days are to raise money for charity including some for the National Garden Scheme, the NGS. We will be back!

Posted in colours, garden design, garden furniture, garden photography, garden ponds, garden pools, garden seat, garden seating, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, grasses, hardy perennials, light, light quality, NGS, ornamental grasses, ornamental trees and shrubs, outdoor sculpture, photography, sculpture, shrubs, spring bulbs, trees, water in the garden, Winter Gardening, winter gardens, Yellow Book Gardens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Sheffield Gardens – Part 2 – James Hitchmough’s patch

So during our weekend up in Sheffield after visiting the garden of Nigel Dunnett, we moved on to explore the garden of his colleague, Professor James Hitchmough. This garden was half way up a steep narrow road near the city centre with terraced houses on both sides.

An NGS sign pointed us through a gateway, where a path took us through the side garden where a wooden gate opened up to reveal the back garden, where glimpses of yellow, orange and red invited us to explore further.

These colourful glimpses hinted at the array of South African bulbs such as watsonias and gladioli, which formed part of a garden that was one low growing meadow below a few gnarled old apple trees. This was no surprise as James Hitchmough is the pioneer of seed sown meadows mixed with such bulbs, but his public gardens such as the one at Wisley tend to be so much larger than his own little patch.

It is a gentle garden with foliage playing an important role and many blues, pinks and whites adding some subtlety.

This was a small but so interesting and atmospheric too.

 

Posted in colours, flowering bulbs, garden design, garden designers, garden photography, gardening, gardens, half-hardy perennials, hardy perennials, meadows, National Garden Scheme, NGS, Yorkshire | Tagged , , , , , ,

The Sheffield Gardens – Part 1 – Bramble Wood Cottage

Via the NGS book, The Yellow Book, we had the opportunity to book a weekend up in Sheffield to explore three gardens, owned by members of the “Sheffield School of Planting” who have been encouraging the use of wildflowers and wildlife mixed borders for years now. In particular they have been encouraging local authorities to take a fresh look at their parks and verges, with the emphasis on planting or sowing for wildlife and in  many cases reducing maintenance budgets.

The leading figure in this movement is Nigel Dunnett and it was to his garden at Bramble Wood Cottage we made our way first, as it was the furthest from the city centre. As we drove around the Sheffield area we could see the influence of this planting movement.

Nigel met us part way up the pathway that took us through the sloping front garden and welcomed us then explained what his garden was all about and what it meant to him. The planting here was to set the tone for what was to come behind the cottage. Native plants and wildlife friendly cultivated plants intermingled to present soft gently planted borders both sides of the path.

The back garden was a large sloping garden with mature woodland area at the very top which gradually became more cultivated as we moved towards the cottage.

To get the full effect of the garden I will create a gallery of some of the photos taken during our visit. As usual just click on the first photo then navigate with the arrows.

So from Bramble Wood Cottage we drove back into the city and found our next garden situated half way up a steep street of brick-built terraced houses.

 

Posted in garden design, garden designers, garden paths, garden photography, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, hardy perennials, log piles, meadows, NGS, ornamental trees and shrubs, village gardens, wildlife, Yellow Book Gardens | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Are you sitting comfortably? No 18 in a very ocassional series

So for number 18 in this very ocassional series of posts about all sorts of garden seating we have found on our travels we continue with the gardens of Cornwall. The first garden we visited in Cornwall while on holiday was a small garden called Poppies Cottage Garden and here are the seats from our exploration of this gente cottage styled patch.

From this little garden I will now move on to the much larger and much more famous Eden Project. There was a wide selection of garden seats on the slopes of the landscape in which its famous domes are situated.

So that is it for post 18 in this very occasional series about the seats we find in gardens we visit. See more in post 19.

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My Garden Journal 2019 – November

I started my entries for November by commenting. “November takes us deep into autumn, the red hot colours of foliage dominate but little gems of flower colour provide spots of colour that attracts us. This November the dominant colour has changed to yellow by the end of the first week.”

     

On the second page I continued, “We continue to be busy revamping areas of the garden and began the month reworking the Rill Garden. We cleared the borders and rill and pond of all herbaceous plants. After clearing out the rill it was replanted. In the Winter Garden to the right of the rill we added a new selection of shade-loving plants.”

 

The two Brunnera are B. ‘Alexander’s Great’ and B. ‘Little Jack’ and between them is the unusual shade lover, Azara splendens.

Two epimedium have been planted in the renewed border in the dappled shade, Epimedium ‘Spine Tingler’ and Epimedium ‘Mandarin star’

“We had a new  stable door fitted which we needed to protect with coats of yacht varnish.”

 

“Half pots we planted with dwarf bulbs and top-dressed with horticultural grit.”

“General views around the garden show just how much colour there still is to enhance the look of our patch.”

“Wildlife is full of surprises as we still see and hear so many bees feeding on our mahonias,  fatsias, and ivies. Whenever we garden buzzards and kites entertain us with their acrobatic displays in the sky overhead. Migrating starlings, and thrushes fill the sky with gossip.

“There are usually a dozen or more blackbirds in our patch who gorge themselves on the berries we grow for them, especially our cotoneasters, of which we grow several species and cultivars.”

“We continue to be busy whenever the weather allows, re-developing the two gravel circles in the front garden.”

So that is my garden journal for November 2019, and now we are waiting to see what December brings by way of ending the year.

Posted in autumn, autumn colours, birds, colours, flowering bulbs, garden photography, garden ponds, garden pools, garden wildlife, gardening, gardens, grasses, hardy perennials, light quality, ornamental grasses, ornamental trees and shrubs, shrubs, water in the garden | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Seasonal Visits – Wildegoose – Winter Weekends

We were so pleased to get the opportunity to visit Wildegoose Nursery Garden this weekend a time when it is usually closed but two special “Winter Weekends” have been arranged. We arrive in fog which added so much to the atmosphere of the walled garden borders. We felt calmed by the muted sound that fog and mist gives us.

The borders were full of seed-heads of perennials and grasses and even a few rogue flowers. Tiny raindrops hung from every seed and stem, giving plants extra life.

Sometimes in gardens especially in winter it is the tiniest details that are the most beautiful, spidery stems, individual seed-heads and even out of season blooms.

 

Euphorbias are loved for their chartreuse, lime and lemon coloured bracts and tiny flowers but when these fall in the autumn they reveal the brightly coloured stems which brighten winter borders.

Sedum varieties have the same powerful coloured stems as their seed heads turn black and purple.

I shall share the rest of my photos below – I hope you enjoy looking at all the pics as much as we enjoyed our misty winter garden wander.

It will be a few months now before we next get the chance to explore Wildegooose Gardens and Nursery, as it stays closed now until April.

Posted in autumn, autumn colours, colours, garden design, ornamental grasses, Shropshire, South Shropshire, Uncategorized, walled gardens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Seasonal Visits to two very Different Gardens – Bodnant Gardens

Following on from our seasonal autumn visit to our smaller garden for 2019 we took a drive up to north Wales to wander around our larger garden, Bodnant Gardens. Join us as we enjoy the signs of the new season on its trees and shrubs.

Within the first ten minutes wandering we had discovered so many interesting plants and plant combinations. We were slowly making for the Winter Garden, one of our favourite parts of the garden. A first for us was a wall trained Gingko biloba which was really striking, as were the glossy indigo berries on this Dianella.

 

Of course The Winter Garden excels in its season but puts on a pretty good show in the autumn too.

 

From The Winter Garden we wandered through the open woodland towards the Acer Glade. All along the way trees were warming up the day with their hot coloured foliage and with some the added splash of colour provided by berries. I hope you enjoy my short gallery of photos below.

 

The woodland paths of gravel and sometimes grass led us to the predominately orange and red Acer Grove, which was busy with photographers and grandparents escorting their grandchildren picking up selections of their favourite leaves, natural jewels of the glade floor.

   

We left the Acer Grove and made towards the stream which we crossed by a wooden bridge and went upwards into the wooded slope of the dingle, so that we could wander along the many paths and look down into the dingle itself. We found more acers and other colourful deciduous shrubs below the giant conifers. Follow our journal be enjoying this gallery.

And so our day of wandering around the wonderful gardens at Bodnant came to an end, but as usual as we walked towards the gate we had a look at the Hot Garden alongside the stone wall. There is always something worth a second glance here whatever month we visit.

Perhaps one more visit to our other garden Wildegoose to go and if tempted another to Bodnant before the year is out!

 

 

 

Posted in arboreta, autumn, autumn colours, colours, garden design, garden fun, garden paths, garden photography, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, grasses, hardy perennials, National Trust, ornamental grasses, ornamental trees and shrubs, photography, shrubs, The National Trust, Wales, water in the garden, woodland, woodlands | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment